The first of Four Deaths

Continuing the quest to break through my fear of engaging targets as a solo pilot, I spent part of last weekend roaming through Placid in Fjögur Dauðsföll (Four Deaths), my shiny new Tristan.

I didn’t have to travel far before I ran into a bright red, flashy Rifter on the Agoze gate in Ostingele. Taking advantage of the relative security offered me by the gate guns in this situation, I observed the ship to see what I could learn. I don’t do this often, because I don’t often need the information, but I thought it would give me a bit of information about this potential target. I noted the spinning barrels indicative of autocannons but nothing else useful.

The Rifter pilot, Thestarling, wasn’t doing much of anything and I assumed he was waiting for me to make the first move — so I obliged. I set up an orbit around him at my optimal range and engaged a warp scrambler, stasis webifier and all of my weaponry. I noted, with regret, that he wasn’t firing back — but I didn’t halt my onslaught. When the Rifter was at about 50% armor, he jumped.

I waited for my aggression timer to tick down and jumped after him, assuming he had decided I wasn’t worth fighting and moved on. When I arrived in Agoze he was still in system but not on the gate. I struck up a conversation in local scolding him for fleeing. I warped around the system looking for any sign of the Rifter, but was unable to locate it. So I parked myself on the Intaki gate and continued to chatter.

For a time I was joined on the gate by a Ishuk-Raata Enforcement Directive Taranis who orbited the gate with me. While we flew in lazy circles around the gate a few other I-RED pilots jumped back and forth patrolling for hostile targets. Knowing that I-RED follows the Not Red Don’t Shoot engagement policy, and that I had never initiated hostilities with them, I wasn’t too worried. I was hoping my friend in the Rifter would show up again. And he did.

When he showed up, though, he was at a tactical bookmark off the gate. It wasn’t worth burning up to him to engage, especially with the I-RED pilots likely willing to engage such a criminal. Eventually the Taranis chased him away and I decided I should get moving. I made a few more jumps and then circled back around to Agoze — when I arrived back in Agoze, all the I-RED pilots had left and Thestarling was still in system, so I struck up the conversation again.

I positioned myself at a station and let him know where I was. Eventually he arrived — but again he was far out of reach. So I headed toward him, slowly. He engaged his engines as well and we were both moving toward each other across the 140 km of empty space; though neither of us engaged our speed modules. I didn’t want him to be certain that I was afterburner fit, and I assume he was trying to keep his fitting a secret as well. So we moved slowly toward one another.

With all of the attention Rifters receive, I had doubts about my ability to win the fight and during the long flight out I pondered fleeing the scene. There wasn’t much he could do to stop me with the station guns on my side. But I stayed on intercept course anyway — running would have been a wasted opportunity; this time I was prepared to lose my ship in glorious single combat.

When the distance was less than 20 km I plotted a course for an orbit at what I considered optimal for my ship — about 8 km — which would give me some margin for error with my warp scrambler and stasis webifier and then I engaged my afterburner. And the Rifter was in range of my warp scrambler, I engaged all offensive systems. Very quickly the Rifter was into armor and I knew I was fighting an armor variant, but my Tristan soon dipped past shields as well. Both of our armor repair systems kicked in and I knew the fight wasn’t yet decided. I toggled the overload for all of my weapons, my afterburner and my small armor repairer and simply hoped — we were both fully committed to the engagement.

His hull finally buckled and the little Rifter exploded. I took a moment to note that flames were trailing from my Tristan yet its sturdy Gallente hull was still at 50%. I quickly scooped what remained of his modules and docked for repairs, thanking him in local for a good fight and my first real one-versus-one kill.

With this first solo victory under my belt, I headed for home and pondered how I had managed to pull it off. So when I arrived at my home port, I started analyzing the fight with all the tools at my disposal.

The initial conditions clearly favored me because his negative security status and the ominous station guns meant I could engage when I chose or simply warp off if I didn’t think I could get into a favorable position. With the early position established and both a stasis webifier and warp scrambler, I could ensure I stayed outside of his optimal range while well within my own. Though the Rifter is faster than the Tristan, the disparity isn’t enough for it to claw into a favorable position before being torn apart by railgun slugs and rockets.

An analysis with EFT showed that, under ideal conditions, the Rifter could outdamage my Tristan at less than ~3 km while it’s damage quickly faded past that range while my Tristan’s rockets and railguns could apply steady damage out to 8 km. Even if he had loaded Barrage the amount of damage would not have been sufficient to bring him a win. As long as I kept the Rifter between 3 and 8 km, a victory was the only possible outcome.

After a good fight and a bit of analysis, my confidence level is up and I’m ready to try it again. I just need to find another suitable target.

~ by paritybit on 2011/09/29.

6 Responses to “The first of Four Deaths”

  1. Congrats on your kill! Well done and a good start. I’m also encourage to see you cruising my neighborhood. I’ve been fitting up some new ships to try out so maybe we’ll bump into each other at some point.

    I’ve been holding off a bit on the 1v1 roaming for a few weeks while I took some time to re-consider the fits I was using. Been focusing on practice and refinement lately, and some other things. But 1v1 is where my heart has always been. Pure PvP baby. Enjoy!

    • Thanks. I think I’ll be sticking to T1 frigates for a while, where I think you roam in expensive stuff 😉 I can’t bring myself to do that quite yet. Plenty to learn there and plenty of ships that aren’t commonly used. I came up with an interesting Breacher fit I thought I might try.

      So far, I still prefer small fleet (greater than 1 and less than 10) over the 1v1, but it’s definitely something I can do without having to depend on others.

  2. Flying solo demands everything from you, but no one gets annoyed that you need to turn your attention somewhere else. For me, it is THE best way to fly. But expect 2 hours roam/1 kill ratio. But that 1 kill might end up being REALLY sweet 🙂

  3. \o/ Congrats!

  4. Thanks for the comments guys. I’ll keep it up and see where it goes.

  5. […] year and a half ago I put some energy toward trying my hand at solo combat; I experienced mild success with a draw and a kill and soon after faded out of EVE in a wash of apathy. The apathy worked […]

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